Airbnb revealed its new Chinese name for the service this week, but netizens in China couldn’t help but brutally mock the translation.
On Tuesday, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said in a press release:
“There’s a whole new generation of Chinese travelers who want to see the world in a different way. We hope that Aibiying and our Trips product strikes a chord with them and inspires them to want to travel in a way that opens doors to new people, communities and neighborhoods across the world.”
Sadly, many found the name “Aibiying,” which translates to “welcome each other with love,” more like a joke than a lodging company thriving with business.
According to Mashable, Chinese netizens thought the name sounded awkward and was difficult to pronounce and understand.
One Weibo user said the name sounds more like “to love to fulfill requests” or “to love Bing.” In China, Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, is “Biying.”
Others pointed it’s as if the company sells sex toys. It turns out “bi” is a homonym for a vagina slang, while “ying” sounds close to the Chinese word for lust. Netizens commented:
“From its logo and name, Aibiying just sounds like it’s competing against [condom giant] Durex.”
“I’m embarrassed to even put the Airbnb app with the others; it looks like an app for sex products.”
Yet some were simply displeased at the chosen name, which came from a pool of 11 options:
“It sounds so horrible. Please tell your boss about that.”
“You guys need a Chinese-language consultant.”
Interestingly, there are those who proposed alternatives that perhaps sound better, Quartz said. These include “Aibi,” which is simply easier to read, and “Aibilin,” which means “love each other’s neighbors.”
How will Aibiying fair?